Nokia has just announced a beta for their HERE Maps for Android. Interestingly, the beta is only available for Galaxy Phones and can only be downloaded from the Samsung Apps Store, but they will apparently target the general Android user base in a following release.
The main feature of this app seems to be offline capabilities. It also seems to be quite good with the basics;
Nokia has built up an extensive database of geographical information in 196 countries, including indoor maps for more than 90,000 buildings around the world. It supports turn-by-turn navigation for driving or walking as well. But the biggest advantage is the offline capabilities of HERE Maps. Google Maps has offline support as well, but it’s fairly limited by comparison: You get very little information about the points of interest and search functions won’t work.
The question is of course, will this be able to successfully compete against the pre-installed Google Maps that comes with Google Play Services licensed Android devices?
I would like to put down some notes related to this;
- The Opera mini browser was quite popular in developing countries, apparently even on Android devices. This was because it used a technology that reduced data usage, making it very useful for people with very limited data plans.
- Nokia HERE Maps will also appeal most to users who have limited data plans, many of whom are in developing countries.
- For users with generous data plans, the appeal of Nokia HERE Maps will be limited.
- Hence Nokia HERE Maps will probably see the greatest penetration in developing countries.